Learning German has a reputation for being a challenging endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to speak English gives you a considerable leg up when learning to speak German . Afterall, German and English are considered linguistic siblings because they originate from the same mother tongue, both being Germanic languages. Consider that 80 of the 100 most common words in English are Germanic in origin. “Water,” for example, is derived from the German word “wasser.” Here are some other German words and their close counterparts in English:
These most basic, most-frequently used words in English and German derive from the same roots, making them somewhat similar.
Whether it’s for vacation, business, or curiosity, you can hit the ground running in the German language by familiarizing yourself with some of these basic German words and phrases.
Here’s how to enhance your confidence by starting with some basic words and phrases to build your German word bank:
Now that we’ve got a handle on a few basic German words, we can dive into the conversational phrases that’ll help you ease into real-world conversations.
The basic conversational building blocks are a great place to start. Simple phrases like “How are you?” grease the wheels of daily conversation in most every language, including German.
Learn vocabulary in an order that’s tried-and-tested to ensure better understanding of how to communicate effectively in German with Rosetta Stone. Engage with German at your own pace, and start speaking Germa n from day one.
Wondering what’s the deal with all of these capitalized words? Find out on the Rosetta Stone blog, Why are so many words capitalized in German?
Because German is a much more phonetically consistent language than English, German words almost always sound the way they are spelled. You can use this phonetic knowledge to pronounce long, multi-syllable words that otherwise might be overwhelming. Let’s break down some of the more difficult sounds you may encounter with German words.
In German, the “ch” sounds like the hiss a cat might make in words such as ich (I), mich (me/myself) and Licht (light). In words like Buch (book) and Bach (stream), it sounds like the Scottish pronunciation of the “ch” in Loch Ness. While the “ß” (called “scharfes S”) looks tricky, you can make it sound as a “ss.”
The vowels that German doesn’t share with English are ä, ö, and ü. These vowels appear with two dots above them. These double dots are called umlauts and they signal special vowel sounds. Some sound like English vowels, but other pronunciations are a little harder to master; let’s try to break them down together.
The ä sounds like the short-e sound in English, like in “bet” as in fällen (fêl-en) (to fell [a tree]). The ö sound is created by forming the vowel ‘e’ as in “her” (without the “r” sound) with forward rounded lips schön (shern) (pretty). The ü sound is made by making a “ooh” sound as in “lure” only with pursed lips, as in Tür (tuer) (door).
By far, the best way to figure out how to pronounce these tricky vowels correctly is to practice and get feedback from native speakers. From the very first lesson, our TruAccent® speech engine will help you fine-tune your pronunciation. Because there’s no point in knowing the words if people can’t understand what you’re saying.
Rosetta Stone gives you a skillset beyond vocabulary with an immersive approach that combines learning vocabulary with real-world situations, building toward a greater contextual understanding of key German words phrases. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® method prepares you to adapt in new conversations by applying the context of what you already know to new words and phrases–so you’ll learn the language and build upon it with your own experiences.
At Rosetta Stone, we believe every person can learn to read, write and speak German with confidence. Learning German words is much like learning vocabulary in any other language: practice makes perfect.
Surround yourself with German whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.